Printer Friendly

Women and Science: a portrait of herpetology in the state of Piaui.

Recently a Brazilian researcher has received great attention in national and international media by prize Rising Talents from L'Oreal's For Women in Science program 2016, which has partnered with Unesco and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and awards women scientists who have contributed significantly to the advancement of Science. However, locally, what does this award represent? Does it, in fact, demonstrate a greater participation of women in science? How is the participation of women scientists in Piaui? What is the representativeness of women in the publications of herpetology in Piaui?

With the objective of make a punctual portrait of this representativeness, here, we analyzed, in a very preliminary way, the representativeness of women scientists in the publications on herpetology in the state of Piaui. For this, we analyzed publications (national and international) about all the aspects of herpetology (e.g., community ecology, new species records, species lists and description of new species) carried out in the state of Piaui between 2001 and 2017, through extensive searches on the websites Web of Science (2018), Google Scholar (2018) and specialized journals. We chose the state of Piaui as an empirical universe because it is my state of origin (first author) and herpetology because it is our specialty. In addition, in this case, the state of Piaui represents an important model of study because the number of publications about the herpetology of the state has grown exponentially in the last ten years, through the publication of a considerable number of studies.

We found that there is still a very great inequality in the representation of women in science in the state of Piaui (specifically in herpetology). Although there has been a greater participation of women in the publications on the herpetology in the state of Piaui in recent years, its representativeness is much lower in relation to the number of authors men (Figure 1). For example, in the years 2001, 2005 and 2006, no woman was author or co-author of the works published in those years. In addition, during the 17 years analyzed, only in 2007 the number of women in the publications was higher than that of men (Figure 1).

To date, were published 49 articles on herpetology in the state of Piaui, in 21 national and international circulation journals (Table 1). Of these, 92% (n = 45) of the articles were published by men, being that in 71% (n = 35) of them a man was the principal author. In 71% (n = 35) of articles was composed by women, however, in only 30% (n = 15) of all published articles the women were the first authors. These 15 articles were written by only seven women, one of which published 5 of them. Thus, to date, all research done with the herpetology in the state of Piaui has been concentrated in seven women.

Although there is no difference in the professional quality of these authors (e.g., most have Ph.D.), the number of men and women who composed the articles was quite uneven, in number and composition. In the 49 articles analyzed, the number of times a man's name (n = 127) appeared as the author was significantly greater (p < 0.001) than the number of times a woman's name (n = 64) appeared as the author or co-author. Furthermore, about 27% of the articles (n = 13) were composed exclusively of men, whereas only three articles had exclusively women as authors and coauthors (Table 1).

This inequality certainly does not result from a difference in the professional capacity of women, but rather of a clear inequality in the labor market insertion, hiring teachers, lower wages, fewer funded and approved projects, and inequality each professional transition stage (Carnaval, 2016). Currently, the state of Piaui does not have any Postgraduate Program (masters and PhD level) in the area of Zoology or Ecology (Plataforma Sucupira, 2018). This should be an important factor to consider. Although this work portrays a punctual view of the local reality and of a specific area, being necessary to know how does Piaui compare with other states, and other academic or professional areas, not only in herpetology, this study represents a formidable opportunity to collect, organize, present and discuss important data on academic representation and demonstrates the urgent need to create means and a greater incentive for the participation of women in scientific productivity in the state of Piaui.


R.A. Benicio thanks Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo (FAPESP, Proc. 2015/11821-0) for financial support.


CARNAVAL, A.C., 2016. Breve reflexao sobre mulheres cientistas, e nossa representatividade na Sociedade Brasileira de Herpetologia. Herpetologia Brasileira, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 47-48.

GOOGLE SCHOLAR [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from:

PLATAFORMA SUCUPIRA [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from:

WEB OF SCIENCE [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from:

R. A. Benicio (a) * and M. G. Fonseca (b)

(a) Programa de Pos-graduacao em Ecologia e Recursos Naturais, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos--UFSCar, Rodovia Washington Luiz, Km 235, CEP 13565-905, Sao Carlos, SP, Brasil

(b) Universidade Federal do Piaui--UFPI, Campus Senador Helvidio Nunes de Barros, Rua Cicero Duarte, 905, CEP 64600-000, Picos, PI, Brasil

* e-mail:

Received: March 16, 2018--Accepted: April 19, 2018--Distributed: November 30, 2019 (With 1 figure)

Caption: Figure 1. Distribution of the number of men and women authors in the 49 articles analyzed on herpetology in the state of Piaui between the years 2001 and 2017. There was no publication in the years 2002 and 2003.
Table 1. Articles (ART) on herpetology in the state
of Piaui, between 2001 and 2017.

    ART     Journal                                 N_A   N_M   N_W

  ART1 *    Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia               3     3     0
  ART2      Publicacoes Avulsas Ciencias             2     1     1
  ART3 *    Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia               2     2     0
  ART4 *    South American Journal of                2     2     0
  ART5      Check List                               5     3     2
  ART6      Herpetological Review                    4     1     3
  ART7      Herpetological Review                    3     1     2
  ART8      Check List                               2     1     1
  ART9      Herpetological Review                    3     2     1
 ART10      Herpetological Review                    3     2     1
 ART11 **   South American Journal of                2     0     2
 ART12      Herpetological Review                    5     4     1
 ART13      Check List                               3     2     1
 ART14 *    Zootaxa                                  4     4     0
 ART15      Check List                               3     2     1
 ART16 *    Check List                               4     4     0
 ART17 *    Herpetology Notes                        5     5     0
 ART18 **   Zoologia                                 2     0     2
 ART19      Check List                               3     2     1
 ART20 *    Herpetology Notes                        2     2     0
 ART21      Check List                               3     2     1
 ART22 *    Boletin de la Asociacion                 3     3     0
            Herpetologica Espanola
 ART23 *    Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia               4     4     0
 ART24 *    Biota Neotropica                         3     3     0
 ART25 *    Zootaxa                                  3     3     0
 ART26 **   Zootaxa                                  2     0     2
 ART27      ZooKeys                                  6     3     3
 ART28      Cuadernos de Herpetologia                2     1     1
 ART29      Boletim do Museu Paraense                3     2     1
            Emilio Goeldi
 ART30      Check List                              11     8     3
 ART31      International Journal of                 5     2     3
            Ecology and Environmental Sciences
 ART32      Herpetological Review                    5     2     3
 ART33      Gaia Scientia                            3     2     1
 ART34      Gaia Scientia                            4     3     1
 ART35      International Journal of Ecology         5     2     3
            and Environmental Sciences
 ART36      Journal of Herpetology                   5     4     1
 ART37      Zootaxa                                  6     3     3
 ART38    Boletim do Museu de Biologia               3     2     1
          Mello Leitao
 ART39    Herpetological Review                      5     2     3
 ART40 *  Biota Neotropica                           5     5     0
 ART41    International Journal of Ecology           6     3     3
          and Environmental Sciences
 ART42    Revista Nordestina de Zoologia             4     2     2
 ART43    Revista Nordestina de Zoologia             3     2     1
 ART44    Tropical Zoology                           6     3     3
 ART45    Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia                 3     2     1
 ART46 *  Brazilian Journal of Biology               4     4     0
 ART47    Revista Nordestina de Zoologia             4     3     1
 ART48    Austral Ecology                           10     7     3
 ART49    Revista Nordestina de Zoologia             3     2     1

N_A = numbers of authors; N_M = numbers of authors men;
N_W = numbers of authors women; * Article composed exclusively
by men; ** Article composed exclusively by women.
COPYRIGHT 2019 Association of the Brazilian Journal of Biology
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Notes and Comments
Author:Benicio, R.A.; Fonseca, M.G.
Publication:Brazilian Journal of Biology
Date:Jul 9, 2019
Previous Article:Microsatellite multiplex systems for Brycon orbignyanus (Characiformes: Bryconidae).
Next Article:Fruit availability at the individual and local levels influences fruit removal in Cecropia pachystachya.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters